I’m pretty much obsessed with wanting to foster a dog.
It’s not something I do very often, because it’s stressful for me to take care of yet another animal. Adding a new dog disrupts everyone’s routine.
Still, I absolutely love fostering, and I’m always drawn to it because it can truly save an animal’s life and really help out a rescue group or shelter.
So, even though I’m not fostering a dog or cat right now, I want to feature some of my blog readers who are currently fostering. Hopefully we can encourage others to consider fostering and maybe even find homes for some of these pets.
Hoppy the cat
Hoppy was once a part of a “community cat colony” according to photographer Elizabeth Putsche, who is now fostering him.
She and her husband run a nonprofit organization called Photographers for Animals, and they found Hoppy while taking photos of the cat colony.
“When we saw him we knew he needed help,” she said. “I thought his eye needed to be removed.”
Once they trapped him and took him to the vet to have his eye removed, they learned he wasn’t feral after all.
“He was a socialized stray who has just gotten mixed up with a feral crowd,” Elizabeth said.
“He’s an older gentleman and was dealt a more difficult hand,” she said. “I would like him to be with someone who appreciates he’s been through a lot and would make sure the rest of his life is a breeze.”
She said Hoppy does have some medical issues. He is FIV positive, does not have any teeth and has an issue with chin acne.
“I believe the right home is out there for him, and we’ll find it eventually,” Elizabeth said. “I’ve been trying to find someone to adopt him that I know, but it takes a kind-hearted soul to see past some of his issues.”
She and her husband have fostered a number of cats over the years, but Hoppy is the first official foster with Photographers for Animals.
For others interested in fostering, Elizabeth warned it can end up being a longer-term commitment and can even be a little expensive at times.
“But being able to make a direct impact on an animal’s life and knowing you played a big part in saving their life is very rewarding,” she said.
“I keep in touch with all the families who have adopted cats that we have fostered, and it’s wonderful to see photos posted on Facebook of them enjoying life and loving their family.”
With fostering, “you can physically see the difference you are making,” she said. “Fostering an animal is a way to see your impact from the first day you take them in, until the day they go to their forever home.”
Amy the Basenji mix
Amy is a 1-year-old dog up for adoption in the Baton Rouge, La., area. You may remember her from my Guess That Mutt post awhile back.
Foster mom Jennifer Jenkins said Amy would be great in an active home with kids (see below!). And while she is dog-reactive, she can learn to get along with another dog if it is in the family.
Jennifer said she and her family love fostering because they get the opportunity to learn more about dogs and “help them get acclimated to life outside the shelter.”
Her advice for others interested in fostering is this:
“Don’t treat the dog as a foster, treat him like your personal pet. Make sure you have the time to invest in him, and be prepared to let him go to a good family.”
She cried when her first foster dog was adopted, but “knowing she was going to a really great family was a comfort.”
Kittens Percy and Ginny
Percy and Ginny are littermates up for adoption through OC Small Pets in the Los Angeles area. They are being fostered by blog reader Jessica Colgan who told me she is adopting the third littermate :).
“It’s so rewarding watching them grow and reach milestones,” she said. “Ginny opened her eyes for the first time right in front of me when I was able to film it. Plus, I get to play with them all I want.”
According to their Petfinder profiles, the kittens were born around Aug. 5 and were abandoned by their feral mother.
“These cats have been hand-reared in a house with dogs since they were about 2 days old, so they’d be great for That Mutt readers!” Jessica said.
I asked her what advice she would give to someone interested in fostering cats or kittens.
“You can make it work, even if you’re not sure you can,” she said.
For example, when Jessica first started volunteering, she told the rescue she could not foster due to a lack of space. She later learned that rescues need different kinds of foster homes such as someone who can take a cat for just one night in an emergency.
“That was my first foster experience, and I found it was really doable to accommodate a cat for just one night,” she said. “Most people can do that. Allowing a rescue to put you on a call list for emergencies like that means a lot to them, and it helps so much.”
To adopt Percy or Ginny, visit OC Small Pets. Update: Percy and Ginny were adopted!
Shari the 1-year-old pug/Chihuahua mix
Shari is up for adoption through Dog Adoption & Welfare Group (DAWG) in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Her foster mom Anna Sieh said Shari is “very easy going and would be happy in most homes.”
Anna got started fostering because she loves dogs but wasn’t ready to adopt.
“It’s a good feeling and it became a kind of hobby,” she said. “You learn a lot about dogs but just when you think you’re getting the hang of it, the new foster mutt is going to teach you yet another lesson.”
Her advice for others interested in fostering is to find a shelter or rescue group you feel comfortable with and ask for a “beginner” dog or short-term arrangement.
She also suggested you act like an “advertising agent” for your foster dog.
“Make your foster dog all pretty, take lots of pictures, and put the ad online wherever possible,” she said, suggesting the use of Craigslist, Petfinder, local classifieds and even the Guess That Mutt features here on ThatMutt.com.
“If you can, attend adoption events,” she said. “Walk your dog with an Adopt-Me bandanna around town. Maybe even put up posters.”
She said it’s important to be creative but also honest.
“If the going gets tough, remember – there is a home for every dog,” she said. “Let it become your mantra.”
How about you? What is your favorite part about fostering?
If you have any questions about fostering, leave your questions in the comments.